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My Spanish miracle occurred in the late summer of 1960 just after my ship docked in the Spanish port of Vigo. As my parents were ardent Republicans I had been led to believe that any brush with the law merited death at dawn after torture.

Francisco-Franco Francisco Franco

Such thoughts weren’t far from my mind as during a stroll through the port’s working-class areas we engaged in an impromptu game of street football with several Spanish youngsters.

El-Dictador-Francisco-Franco-en-Barcelona-1970 Francisco Franco in Barcelona,1970.

As we sailors kicked the ball from wall to wall and got the better of the younger Spanish kids my sea-eye spotted approaching Spanish police.

The sight of their pea soup green uniforms and their black tricorne caps (gorra) chilled…

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